The Only Escape from 2020 Was To Pretend It’s 2013

There I was at three in the morning crying over the british boy band, One Direction. Now, I was not 13 years old in seventh grade, but 19 years old on July 23, 2020 in the middle of a pandemic.  

I was really just living doing the same exact thing day to day. Living in Westchester, New York being five months into the pandemic, I was only leaving the house maybe once a week. I was only seeing my parents and my sixteen year old sister. My escape,like every other person in Generation Z, was on the Internet. But escaping to the Internet also means coming into contact with the dumpster fire that is the state of our country.

There is never a good time to have anxiety. But between the global health crisis at my doorstep and the system racism being exposed in every community I have been part of, I had a recession in any mental health progress I had made over the past years. Every day I would wake up and question my sore throat because of my allergies or was I going to become another number part of the rising cases that Governor Andrew Cumomo would remind us of everyday at 11am in his daily press conferences. Then throughout the rest of the day, I would question if I was doing enough to help the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Politics was never something I thought would be the first thing on my mind when I was a kid. Until high school the only thing I truly cared about was pop culture. Specifically from the years 2011 to 2015 all I cared about was One Direction. 

My bedroom in 2012 was filled with posters from Tiger Beat and J -14 magazine of Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Mailk, and Louis Tomlinson that you could not see the bubblegum pink paint anymore. In the corner of my room is a cardboard cutout of Liam Payne who was my favorite member at the time. In 2015, there were framed tickets on the walls  from each time I saw them live - at Madison Square Garden in 2012, at Jones Beach in 2013, and the Metlife Stadium in 2014.

While I had a lot of physical and material evidence for my love of the boy band, what made One Direction different and more successful than any boy band before was the presence of social media. I made my Twitter in 2012 because that's where the One Direction fandom was. I used it to tweet things like “#1DDayLive hey boys. Loving the 1D day” 

Being on Twitter during the One Direction era, there was constant news and content. It could be anything from a tweet from the members, although it was usually just fans keeping track of every possible movement of the band. One Direction fans almost worked as if it was a job to break every record or run PR for the members of the band. On July 22, 2013 I spent all day watching the same music video over and over again just for it to break Vevo records. I know now that it doesn't mean anything. But then by the way everyone was acting on twitter, it was like winning some metal on honor. 

Seventeen years later, after I had moved on from One Direction Twitter to now a complete focus of politics and media, signs of what my Twitter feed used to look like  started to appear. Fan accounts who profile pictures as Harry Styles with usernames like ohloverboyharry or 1Dpredicition2020 started to speculate what was going to happen on July 23rd, 2020, the ten year anniversary of the forming of One Direction on X Factor. 

“Will we get the Infinity MV from One Direction”, one fan account tweeted 

“Me waiting for a the one direction reunion announcement #OneDirection2020”, tweeted another. 

24 hours before the actual day, #tenyearsofonedirection was trending and would be for another 48 hours. Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Niall were following under that as trends being tweeted about all across the world. 

During this summer there was obviously not anything to celebrate. I was not feeling patriotic at all on July 4th because of the state of the country. The ten year anniversary of One Direction felt like an opportunity for me to not think about the coronavirus and what President Trump was going to do next. It seems like Twitter was on the same page I was.  I planned how I would spend the night of July 22 and the day of July 23 as if I was traveling to a beach resort for a weekend. 

I put out a warning on Twitter, “if you’ve known me post my One Direction phase, you don't know me for the next week”. 

My itinerary was a 60 video deep Youtube playlist of every music video, interview, or any video by One Direction then to the end of stream with watching the One Direction movie, This Is Us. I was also having Twitter and Tik Tok notifications one to not miss any news or announcements that may come. 

After nine hours of watching One Direction footage and tweets from 4 members of the band, I had the biggest realization why this day was like no other in quarantine. It was actually fun and stress free. 

I was in middle school when I was a One Direction fan. I was the most naive I'll ever be. My biggest concern was a boy band. I did not care about what was going on in the world. I did not even know what mental illness or bipartrian politics was. My only stress was watching music videos over and over again to break records. Coming back to the One Direction community on Twitter also put me in awe that the band formed this community of girls on the internet. Being a part of that moment in history is something I am really  proud of. 

The day next I tweeted, “I’ve spent that last 20 hours only thinking about and absorbing one direction content. I forgot that I used to do this every day from 2011 to 2015”

I had to go back to a time in history to forget about the moment of history I am living through now. I needed an escape just for a day from the complete panic I am feeling everyday. Maybe in ten years I’ll look back on my tweets during the presidential debates and feel the kind of nostalgia for this time. Who knows what's next?